The RCMP recognized community policing volunteers, a youth probation officer, and some of its own employees at a ceremony held in Williams Lake Thursday at city hall chambers.
Twenty-three people were honoured, including retired Sgt. Morris Monita, who received a 35-year certificate for service, and the late Auxiliary Const. Ed Moxey, whose certificate of appreciation was accepted by his son, Danny Moxey.
“The award for Sgt. Monita accompanies his previously presented long service in good conduct medal with gold class,” Staff Sgt. Major Doug Pack, North District Command explained.
Retired Corp. Lorne Lazzarotto presented Moxey’s award.
Moxey was one of the first auxiliary members Lazzarotto met.
“He started in 1963 and was with the first group of auxiliaries who served in Williams Lake. His day job was working with the BC Forest Service as a radio technician,” Lazzarotto said, adding after Moxey retired from being an auxiliary he also spent time volunteering in the RCMP guard room.
“I think Ed was the conscience of the force in Williams Lake,” he recalled. “We would discuss different situations and he would give us advice on how we should handle them.”
“I think the auxiliary program really mushroomed in Williams Lake,” he said, adding one spinoff is that Moxey’s grand daughter is an RCMP member in Prince George.
It was the first time the RCMP in Williams Lake have held a recognition ceremony.
Other recipients were: Derrick Stratton, Wayne Lucier, Michael Lucas, Kelly Call, Andy Sullivan, Bob McIntosh, Bobby Sunner, Rodney Hawkins, John Warkentin, Glenn Ford, Andy Walsh, Keith Jones, Robert Crosina, Craig Kennedy, Janet Moore, John Pilszek, Dave Dickson, Nancy Brissard, Const. Michelle Ballantyne, Const. Eric Black and Const. Dan Hay.
Pack said the awards recognized commitment and service.
“The awards are a way to say thank you and recognize service,” Pack said. “It’s a little way to give back to our membership and our volunteers. Long service medals are the country’s way of saying thank you and it does a lot to enhance the moral and build esprit de corps of an organization like ourselves.”
Mayor Kerry Cook congratulated the recipients as “unsung heroes.”
“I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Inspector Brown for planning this ceremony. It’s not every day that we get to join together as a community to acknowledge and say thank you.”
It takes a lot of different people to make a community, she added.
Chief Superintendent Rod Booth, District Commander North District, said it was a great day for Williams Lake, B.C. and for Canada.
“It’s like chicken soup for my soul,” Booth said.
“Thanks for all you do,” he told the recipients.
Booth also acknowledges the contributions of families present.
“You’re the ones who live vicariously behind the scenes. You’re the ones who have to represent the family at missed occasions, birthday parties and other gatherings.”
Families of auxiliaries, RCMP members, and volunteers are the ones who worry at home when a loved one goes out and puts themselves in harm’s way, especially at night when others are sleeping peacefully at home.
“For the regular members we all are assigned a regimental number when we join the RCMP, it’s a unique special number, and I’d liked to say the spouses and partners of our members are the members without regimental numbers,” Booth said.
He said he calls the auxiliary officers the “ultimate” volunteers because they go out and put themselves in harm’s way for free without sidearms.
“It’s like chicken soup for my soul coming out to events like these,” Booth added.
Insp. Warren Brown said the recipients are all very worthy people.
“This is not an all-inclusive list. There were many people that we didn’t mention tonight that are an attribute to all that we do, but hopefully we’ll have more of these in the future.”
His detachment, he said, is comprised of “very keen and dedicated” young members who share a passion for “doing the right thing.”
Guards often don’t receive recognition for working in the windowless, hot and sweaty, “bowels of the detachment,” often with very miserable people, Brown said, in reference to Warkentin who he said works in one of the “busiest cell blocks in the province.”
More than 100 people volunteer with the community policing, Brown said, and often go unnoticed.
“We have a robust group of employees, volunteers and people who are engaged in policing in this community,” he added.